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Last Updated: Friday, 27 April 2007, 01:36 GMT 02:36 UK
Hollywood lobbyist Valenti dies
Jack Valenti. File photo
Valenti headed the film lobbying group for almost four decades
Jack Valenti, Hollywood's film industry lobbyist who developed the modern US movie ratings system, has died aged 85.

He died of complications resulting from his stroke in March at his Washington home, said Seth Oster of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

Valenti had led the MPAA for 38 years, introducing the G, PG, and R film ratings system. He retired in 2004.

Earlier in his career, Valenti had been an aide to Presidents John F Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.

He was in the motorcade when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963.

As the man who represented the Hollywood industry in Washington, Valenti was a fierce opponent of film piracy, crusading for copyright enforcement.

He also abolished the industry's restrictive Hays code, which prohibited explicit violence and sex on the screen.

The film ratings system that Valenti laid out in the 1960s generally has remained intact, although some changes have been added over the decades.

'Giant voice of reason'

Dan Glickman, Valenti's successor at the MPAA, said he embodied the "theatricality" of the industry.

"Jack was a showman, a gentleman, an orator, and a passionate champion of this country, its movies, and the enduring freedoms that made both so important to this world," Mr Glickman said in a statement.

Hollywood directors and actors paid tribute to Valenti, with Stephen Spielberg calling him "a giant voice of reason" and "the greatest ambassador Hollywood has ever known".

Kirk Douglas said that Valenti had been "a loyal and caring friend to many people".

Valenti once said that the 1966 film A Man For All Seasons was his favourite movie.

"I'm the luckiest guy in the world, because I spent my entire public working career in two of life's classic fascinations, politics and Hollywood," he said.

"You can't beat that."

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